In David Broder’s world, the ideal politician is ambitious but non-ideological. They are earnest and eager to serve the public, but they have to ask which party they should belong to. That was the case with Max Baucus.

I suppose there is something charming and innocent about a rich-boy from Montana coming to Washington and making good. Normally, in such stories, there is a pox on both parties and the hero must be above faction.

The reality is that anyone who doesn’t know the differences between the parties doesn’t know enough about politics to be eligible to serve as a politician. And anyone who does know the differences but is willing to play either part is a rake and a rogue, and no hero at all.

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